Monday, March 11, 2013

The Multi-Genre Author with Susan Whitfield

Now that I’m a multi-genre author, I thought I’d explain how I became one. When I started writing seriously back in 2004 I knew I wanted to write a mystery because, after all, that’s what I enjoy reading most. So I wrote Genesis Beach, which began as a short story and turned into a novella because I didn’t have enough room to tell my story. Eventually the book became a novel, by the sheer numbers under consideration by a publisher. In it I introduced Logan Hunter, an intern for the SBI, (NC’s equivalent to the FBI).

When I fell into that dark area called “writer’s block”, I whipped out fresh clean paper and started writing another book about Logan Hunter, set in another area of North Carolina. This time she was a full-fledged SBI agent and I challenged us both by having her track down a serial killer in western North Carolina. Just North of Luck remains my most graphically violent novel.

I added Hell Swamp and Sin Creek to the mix, giving Logan plenty of heinous crimes to investigate. Along the way I added some awkward romance and showcased different parts of North Carolina in each book. Now that I’m writing the fifth book in the series, I’ve aged her and certainly she has matured into an experienced agent not to be underestimated.

But after the fourth mystery, I wanted a diversion, so I wrote a women’s fiction, Slightly Cracked, the plot of which I’d be carrying around in my head for some time. It’s about life-long friendship with plenty of hilarious antics to be sure.

I also authored a unique cookbook featuring recipes from mystery writers across the country who graciously shared family recipes with me in exchange for promotion under each one.

So now I’m “multi-genre”. It just happened. I don’t have the space here to expound on my journey, but I can truthfully say that I’ve enjoyed the ride. I hope to write another women’s fiction soon and I’m already doing research for an historical mystery. Maybe I bore easily but I suspect that there’s more to it than that. I’m having the time of my life learning new writings skills and techniques and experimenting with new characters and even new genres.

It’s kind of what makes me tick. Is multi-genre for everyone? Probably not, but I’m enjoying myself and discovering that I can not only make readers squirm with discomfort but also make them giggle. Now that’s priceless!

Find Susan Whitfield here:
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55 comments:

Susan Whitfield said...

Diane, thanks for inviting me over to your blog. You do such a great job of promoting not only yourself but others. I really appreciate it. Continued success with all of your endeavors!

J D Webb said...

You've made me squirm and giggle. Keep it up. I never tire of doing either.

Julie Luek said...

Ah, I think that would be my dream-- to write in different genres. I love reading all kinds of books- fiction and nonfiction. I'd love to be able to create the kinds of books I love.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I write in two genres and though I enjoy one more than the other, I don't want to give up either. Nice to meet you.

Karen Lange said...

Nice to meet you, Susan! You've inspired me. I have several projects in the works - in different genres, and I need to press forward.

Thanks, Diane, for hosting!

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Hi Susan! :)

I like that it was an organic process for you and that the story itself helped you change course.

I'd like to explore other genres some day.

Ellie Garratt said...

I think multi-genre writers are on the increase, especially with the rise of indie-publishing. And why not?

Great to meet you, Susan!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I might cross over into fantasy one day, but happy with science fiction right now.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Even in my reading I'm eclectic and I write in more than one genre.

Enjoyed reading how you became a multi-genre author.

congratulations!

shelly said...

Very nice to meet you. Prolific is a good thing.

Hugs and chocolate,
Shelly

Susan Whitfield said...

Thanks, JD. Julie, I'm having the time of my life writing what I want to write. I hope all writers can do that and not be "forced" into one genre just because it sells more books. Good for you, Susan, and it's nice to meet you also. Karen, by all means, press forward. I think you're going to find more multi-genre authors in the future. We all want to experiment and spread our wings. Thanks to all of you who commented. It's nice to meet you as well. Shelly, thanks for the no-calorie chocolate:-)

klahanie said...

Hi Susan and hi Diane,

I like what makes you tick, Susan. I've always done several genres. And that even includes my dog, Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar, do some of my writing.

Variety is good. I think sticking to one genre can get most boring. Good to expand the mind. And considering I've only two brain cells left, that's some going.

Happy writing.

Gary

Laura Eno said...

Nice to meet you, Susan. I think if you enjoy reading different genres, the writing in more than one would naturally follow.

Summer Ross said...

Glad to meet you- I can see how things like this just happen. i truly believe if it is meant to be then it does just happen. :) I've contemplated being multi genre- but we shall see what my future holds.

randi lee said...

Learned some very interesting things from a very interesting lady. Thanks for inviting her over and exposing us to her, Diane!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Susan, thank you!

Variety is good, which is why I write three different genres. Might try four even.

Arlee Bird said...

I like the idea of being multi-genre since I have a wide range of interests and can get tired of staying in the same place. You're doing the right thing if it works for you.

Lee
Wrote By Rote
An A to Z Co-host blog

Johanna Garth said...

I could see why multi-genre would be appealing to so many of us. We're whole people with lots of different interests, after all.

C. Lee McKenzie said...

I think writing in different genres gives you more latitude and definitely stirs up your creative juices. Congratulations on being able to write so widely!

Susan Whitfield said...

Gary, I certainly do get bored easily and even when reading, if I'm not captured quickly I put the book down and grab another. I tell people I have adult ADD and they laugh, but perhaps I do. Anyway, it seems to work for me.

Susan Whitfield said...

I think you're right, Laura. I DO read many genres.

Susan Whitfield said...

THanks, C. Lee, and I appreciate all the comments. I'll check in again later but have to run an errand.

Susan Whitfield said...

THanks, C. Lee, and I appreciate all the comments. I'll check in again later but have to run an errand.

Carol Kilgore said...

Hi, Susan! Great to meet you. So far I've only written in the broad mystery genre of fiction, but who knows. I have a lot of interests, too.

Waving to Diane :)

Ciara said...

I write in several genres under various pen names. I actually don't cross promote. Some pen names that don't even have a website sale the best. Go figure.

Susan Whitfield said...

Hi right back at you, Carol. Perhaps you'll be "moved" to write about another one of your interests. Ciara, that's great. I have never used a pen name. May I ask why you choose to use a variety of pen names or is that a secret? I have several friends who use pen names for various reasons.

Susan Whitfield said...

Diane, I'd like to extend an invitation to your followers to come over and guest on my blog or have me interview them. I'm in the process of scheduling for the rest of this year.

michelle said...

Multi-genre writing? Wow, I've never thought about it...
Because mystery/suspense has always been my preferred reading genre, I always assumed that that would be the genre I'd write in.
Well, I've just started reading different genres and have enjoyed my first 2 space opera stories. Not sure that I'd be able to write sci-fi...
I'm sure that writing across genres isn't a conscious decision? Or is it?
Nice to meet you Susan.

Laura Marcella said...

Thanks for the inspiration! I get lots if ideas for several different genres, and I hope to be a Multi-genre published author. Some authors seem to think it's not good to do that so it's great hearing about your positive experience!

M Pax said...

I'm starting to branch out. It is fun to experiment and write something new. Congrats Susan!

Happy Monday, Diane :)

Nicki Elson said...

It's wonderful that Susan's found all that in you, Susan, and that she's exploring it all. The cookbook was a genius idea. Though I wonder if "mystery meat" is one of the recipes...??

The Golden Eagle said...

Great to hear about multi-genre writers. Branching out into other genres seems like it would be an interesting experience.

Susan Whitfield said...

You have to be comfortable, Laura. LOL, Nicki! Well, I DO have some game recipes that I could have declared as mystery meat just to add to the pot, so to speak.

J.L. Campbell said...

Hi, Susan,
It certainly sounds as if you've had an interesting journey. I think writing in different genres has the wonderful advantage of preventing boredom from setting in.

The only downside I see is that for me, I keep running off in different directions once a idea hits.

Damyanti said...

This was an awesome journey. I read so many genres, I feel like writing in a few of them, but always step back. This gives me hope.

Susan Whitfield said...

J.L, there is the rub. I run off in different directions too. I keep various notebooks in handwriting and some outlines and spreadsheets online so that as thoughts and ideas come to me I can write them down in the most obvious place for future use. I always have a notebook and pen in the vehicle I'm traveling in (even my husband's truck side door pocket) because I'm famous for plucking weird names and ideas off of billboards and such. Just remember if you save them online to remember what you named the file. Otherwise, you can spend all day trying to find it. Occasionally (usually after a new book release) I print out copies and delete things I've used and add more). It works quite well for me.
Damyanti, if I have inspired you, I am truly thrilled. Now get to it! Hugs to all of you for a splendid conversation. Diane, you're adorable. I hope we can have lunch soon.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

I believe we should follow our hearts when it comes to what we write. Having said that, it's lots harder to market multi genres than just one. I do address how to do this effectively in The Frugal Book Promoter, but it may deserve a whole book of its own! http://budurl.com/FrugalBkPromo

Jay Noel said...

Great guest post.

I think it's good to venture outside the comfort zone a little and play in a different sand box.

That's how we grow.

Jo said...

I read lots of genres, why shouldn't you write in them? As a devotee of North Carolina I must check out your books - I lived on the coast for 12 years.

JO ON FOOD, MY TRAVELS AND A SCENT OF CHOCOLATE

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I admire people who can write multi-genres. I can't do it. I prefer to stick to one.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Very inspirational! It's good to know that you can cross genres successfully if the desire strikes.

Susan Whitfield said...

Carolyn, you're so right and I have a copy of The Frugal Promoter that's highlighted and dog-earred throughout. Thanks for writing a great tool! Thanks, guys, and Jo, I live an hour from the coast so maybe we'll meet some day.

Hart Johnson said...

I have multi-genre plans. I get that it is harder to market, and I will probably use a couple pen names to keep them straight for readers, but I would get bored with too many novels that are too similar, too. I mean I have a few I love, and I will probably stick with those... but it is 3 or 4, not 1 or 2.

Southpaw said...

That's pretty cool. I would think it would keep the writing from becoming tedious. Though that isn't the word I'm looking for.

Susan Whitfield said...

Southpaw (love the handle), I does a another layer of happiness for me and makes writing more enjoyable although I still enjoy writing mysteries. I suppose I'm "mysterious"?

David P. King said...

Awesome, Susan! Multi-genre is tough, but that's what I'm aiming for, eventually. :)

Sherry Ellis said...

That's definitely unusual! I'm glad you've had success as a multi-genre author.

Editors At Work said...

Great to meet you, Susan! You've inspired me. All the best!

Thanks, Diane, for hosting!

Susan Whitfield said...

You can do it if I did, David. Thanks, Sherry and Editors.

Christine Rains said...

Great post! I love to challenge myself and write out of my comfort zone. Good luck!

Jemi Fraser said...

I read widely, so I'd eventually like to write in multiple genres as well, although I'm really enjoying the niche I've found just now :)

Bish Denham said...

There's always room to grow as a writer, to branch out and try different things.

Sylvia Ney said...

Awesome post! Thanks so much for sharing.

Sylvia
http://www.writinginwonderland.blogspot.com/

Medeia Sharif said...

I'm multi-genre when it comes to my drawer manuscripts, but I'd love to be a multi-genre published author.

Susan Whitfield said...

Just do it, Medeia!